Addendum, November 11, 2011.
I am tempted to take down this post. It adds nothing to the debate and drives the blog into a wall. The bottom line for me comes down to the indefensible belief that the state does not have the right to take a life. Beyond that belief are facts of race, economic inequality, DNA evidence leading to acquittals for inmates condemned to death, horror of particular methods of execution. If the someone from the family of the victim has the certainty and the guts, the fortitude to aim the gun and pull the trigger – well, that’s a different story. They would probably kill the wrong person from time to time too, though.
What to say about a death penalty vigil, an execution watch? Should the state have the right to take a life? Karl Eugene Chamberlain was killed today in a Texas prison.
Karl grew up in the town we now call home. Naomi knows his mom, Mui’na Arthur, from activist circles. He was 37 years old. He confessed to raping and killing Felicia Prechtl, was sentenced 17 years ago and has been on Death Row since. He spent 10 years in isolation.
For the pro-death penalty point of view, and a chilling account of the crime, go here. I am sorry to say I could find very little written about the victim, Felicia Prechtl. The family’s rage and bitterness is understandable.
The problem I have with the death penalty is that it is state-sponsored, old testament style murder, a barbaric practice which serves no end except vengeance, not even deterrence. And sometimes the person who is put to death is not the person who walked into the prison. People change.
From accounts I have from people who have known him through these years this seems to have been the case with Karl.
These were some of his last words: “We are here to honor the life of Felicia Prechtl, a woman I didn’t even know, and celebrate my death. I am so terribly sorry. I wish I could die more than once.”
For Karl’s letters, bio, and his pictures and paintings visit who’s who on death row and look for Karl Chamberlain’s name on the memory pages in the left hand column.
I am tempted to take down this post. It adds nothing to the debate and drives the blog into a wall.